Top 14 Air Travel Complaints From Our Editors

From pushy passengers to dangerously oversized carry-ons, find out what puts us on edge in the air.

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Every Seat's a Loser

My biggest flight gripe is the fact that no seat is really a winner. The window seat is nice if you want a view and to sleep against the side, but forget bathroom breaks or stretching your legs. I hate to crawl over strangers, and the anxiety about having to get up and not being able to is real. The aisle seat is a good solution if you know you’ll be getting up and don’t want to bug other people, but forget sleeping. And don’t even get me started on middle seats. So, long flights are basically a no-win situation. Why can’t every seat just have a small gap and a pull-up wall for sleeping? Asking too much?—Keri Sanders, assistant editor

Lousy Wi-Fi

Non-functional airplane Wi-Fi. Sometimes it works, but other times it's slower than dial-up. Luckily, new planes are starting to roll out satellite-based connections which are fast enough to stream Netflix on board to keep you entertained jetting across the country. Still, most planes use the older systems with slow connections, but that's still good enough for email and Instagram.—Arthur Hsu, producer

Chatty Passengers

There’s nothing worse than a chatty seatmate on a long flight. I don’t mind an initial conversation to get to know the person, but I don’t want to spend the whole flight engaged in conversation. Eventually, I'll want to watch a movie, read a book or take a nap - all activities best enjoyed sans talkative seatmate.—Laura James, assistant editor

Supersized Bags

I blame the airlines with their bag fees as much as passengers for this problem. Enormous, heavy bags carted onto planes rather than checked are a menace. They prolong boarding time, they hog overhead bin space, they are often so heavy that people struggle to get them into the bin and then out again. Pity the poor passenger seated below as these passengers clumsily try to balance their gigantic, overweight bag above their heads, which would cause serious injury if it lands on someone. Check it people!—Felicia Feaster, managing editor

Cramped Overhead

My gripe is not enough overhead bin space. I have to volunteer to check in my bag almost every time! Either they overbook the flight, don’t offer enough overhead space or passengers are abusing the rules by carrying on too many items.—Farima Alavi, editor

Grabby Passengers

Mine is when people stand up and start trying to get their bags as soon as the plane lands. We haven’t even gotten to the gate yet! Where. Are. You. Going?!—Jessica Yonker, editor

Vegetarian Sadness

When you order a vegetarian meal option and they automatically skip the cheesy potatoes in favor of steamed vegetables or bland rice. Just because I don’t eat meat, that doesn’t mean I don’t love satisfying and calorie-laden entrees! Also, an apple and a banana are not the vegetarian substitute for a baloney sandwich and cookie plate. Can a vegetarian get some sugar in the air, please?—Cameron Curtis, editor-in-chief

Terrible Seating Arrangements

One of my in-flight pet peeves is seating arrangements. Every time my family travels together, we always end up spread out across the plane. It seems like you’d be able to get a family of four at least close to the same area, but there’s always at least one person 15 rows away.—Christina Holbert, intern

Riding Shotgun With the Loo

A cheap flight booked online typically lands me next to the bathrooms in the back of the plane and the putrid smell that emanates from the (dirty) closets. I avoid using theses germ infested closets at all costs. But when that door slams open and that germy smell drifts into the back of the cabin, it permeates my nasal cavity for hours. My solutions: be wary of cheap online package deals, book at least three weeks in advance and if you are seated in the back try to move as soon as you can check in. —Angela Teague, writer/producer

No Beverage at Takeoff

It bothers me when I'm lucky enough to fly first class, board the plane, sit in my comfy seat up front and don't get offered a beverage. Sometimes I want to start my trip with some sparking water or an adult beverage. It's okay if there are delays and crew is busy getting ready for departure, but other times I see them chatting in the galley instead of offering service to first class.—Arthur Hsu, producer

Interrupted Sleep

On overnight trips to Europe when the flight attendants wakes you up mid-flight to fill out the customs form. When you’re trying to get a few precious hours of sleep it’s so annoying. Why can’t they give that to you with your meal or at the beginning of the flight?—Jackie McGilvray, editor

Impatient, Pushy Passengers

I have so many in-flight travel pet peeves, but my #1 eye-roll-inducer is when passengers leap up the second the plane lands to grab their carry-on and force their way down the aisle (typically pushing and shoving along the way). Special shout out to the travelers seated in the back of the plane who think they’ll be able to levitate over everyone and magically be the first to exit. Praying that one day we will live in a world where everyone will have the patience to remain seated until it’s their row’s turn to de-plane!—Jessica Falcone, associate producer

Bad Passenger Etiquette

Feet on the bulkhead walls. You wouldn't put your feet on your parent's or friend's house walls, why is an airplane any different?It's even dirtier when people are shoeless and sockless, then walk to the lavatory and leave damp foot prints on the floors when they return to their seats.—Arthur Hsu, producer

Reclining Seats

I'll put it this way. I don't recline. My husband and son, who are both over 6' tall, don't recline. It's rude. It puts your own comfort above those around you and for me basically represents the decline of public etiquette and consideration for others. Airline seats are cramped and claustrophobic enough that it takes a special kind of inconsideration for someone to then also recline into, essentially, your lap, for a little bit of extra personal space. The worst example was on a flight from Europe to Atlanta where the man sitting a row ahead of me who already commanded a luxurious bulkhead seat then felt perfectly entitled to recline as far as he could possibly go, into my seat for the entire flight.—Felicia Feaster, managing editor

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